Some California ski resorts in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes received their first dusting of snow in September, before summer officially ended. Now resorts have set their opening dates for the coming winter season, provided more snow arrives in time.
Early predictions say California may be in for typical, non-drought conditions, according to AccuWeather’s winter 2019-20 forecast. “A normal season in terms of snowfall will also translate to decent ski conditions for resorts in California,” the online forecast says.
Regardless of how the weather plays out, ski resorts plan to open on these dates (though you should check conditions before you go).
Mammoth and Tahoe area
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Oct. 25. The resort, about 25 minutes from Reno, Nev., hopes to be first to open in the California-Nevada area. This season, Mt. Rose will offer $49 lift tickets starting at noon Fridays.
Boreal Mountain Resort, Nov. 8.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Nov. 9. The first chair spins at 8:30 a.m., with a beer toast and live music to follow. Last year, Mammoth did not shut down skiing and snowboarding until July 28, racking up a 260-day ski season. On opening day, the resort will offer $50 lift tickets; plus, active duty military and veterans ski or ride free on Veterans Day (Nov. 11).
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. The resort plans to open Nov. 15. Squaw will host a Leap of Love event Feb. 29 (yep, 2020 is a leap year) with a high-elevation ceremony for up to 50 couples who want to get married or renew their vows.
Heavenly Lake Tahoe and Northstar California, both in the Tahoe area, Nov. 22. New this year, Northstar brings celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub to its village.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Nov. 27.
China Peak, Nov. 28. Mark your calendar for the New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and fireworks to welcome 2020.
Sugar Bowl, Nov. 29
Sierra-at-Tahoe plans to open mid-November.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Dec. 12.
Big Bear Mountain Resort. The two peaks in the San Bernardino Mountains have different opening dates: Nov. 15 for Snow Summit and Nov. 22 for Bear Mountain. When you’re not on the slopes, you might party or hang at Bear Mountain’s sun deck, which has doubled for the coming season.
Mountain High Resorts, Nov. 22. The resort near Wrightwood plans its annual “Santa Sunday” on Dec. 15, when anyone in costume who makes a $20 donation to nonprofit Protect Our Winters receives a free lift ticket.
Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs plans to open late November.
Mt Baldy Resort in the Angeles National Forest (north of Claremont) is selling lift tickets for dates that begin Dec. 7, according to its website.
Badger Pass Ski Area, Yosemite, Dec. 20. The little ski area in Yosemite National Park recently reclaimed its historic name. You can ski, go tubing and sledding and even snowshoe inside the national park.